Incorporating My Appalachian Roots: Kentucky-Fried Ruffed Grouse Legs

One of my earliest childhood memories is the Kentucky mountainside opposite my great-grandmother’s porch. A steep mosaic of oak and pine, it towered over the one-lane highway hemming its slope, a short walk from Nannie’s front steps. I recall well the intermittent hum of semis at night, the whirring glow of their cab lights like fireflies in our guest bedroom window. In the morning we woke early to the sounds of Nannie working in the kitchen. Smells of frying bacon and chicken roused our noses from sleep, luring our feet, pair by pair, down creaking floorboards. Continue reading “Incorporating My Appalachian Roots: Kentucky-Fried Ruffed Grouse Legs”

A Belated St. Paddy’s, Lenten Feast: Fried Walleye with Irish Colcannon

I thought I knew a good fish fry, until I moved to Minnesota, where the state fish, the ever-famous walleye, was a game changer. I had fried everything from bass to cod to trout during my years in the Pacific Northwest. While I thoroughly enjoyed those suppers, nothing quite beats a walleye—the way it melts in your mouth, how its flavor balances perfectly with spices inside a golden-brown crust. Continue reading “A Belated St. Paddy’s, Lenten Feast: Fried Walleye with Irish Colcannon”

Real Hunters Know Their Gravies: Roasted Grouse with Hunter-Style Gravy

The origin of hunter-style gravy, or “sauce chasseur” as the French call it, remains rather unclear. Seen on modern menus today, the term hunter-style or hunter’s sauce typically refers to a recipe that includes sautéed mushrooms and is made from beef demi-glace. Some sources suggest the sauce got its name from the practice of hunters returning home from a successful hunt and foraging for mushrooms along their route. Other sources speculate instead of wine—a common ingredient in modern hunter-style gravies—hunters employed the blood from their kill in the recipe. I prefer to believe the latter and have sought to create a recipe that aims to celebrate the ritualistic nature of returning home from the woods after a great day bagging grouse. Continue reading “Real Hunters Know Their Gravies: Roasted Grouse with Hunter-Style Gravy”

Quick, Hot, Delish: Pheasant Teriyaki Stir-Fry

Teriyaki, when loosely translated, refers to both the shiny and grilled nature of the dish. The teriyaki method of cooking originated in Japan hundreds of years ago, though, today, variations of the sauce and technique vary throughout the world. Still, most recipes follow the fundamentals: grilled or broiled meat tossed in a sauce reduction of soy sauce, mirin and honey or sugar.         Continue reading “Quick, Hot, Delish: Pheasant Teriyaki Stir-Fry”